I had the majority of a post put together for an offseason game plan post featuring all the moves I wanted to see the Jackets make. I’d figured out reasonable cap hits for the guys I wanted to be signed, figured out a nice trade or two that made sense, and wrote a nice long paragraph about how no one in their right mind would deal anything of value for RJ Umberger. Then it all got blown to hell. It came out that Jason Spezza had Columbus on his no trade list (I had him as a trade target), Nikita Nikitin was dealt to the Oilers, and Umberger was somehow traded for Scott Hartnell. In my opinion, those moves took care of a lot of what the Jackets needed to do this offseason. So instead of a post detailing everything I wanted to see, I figured I’d hit everything that has happened so far, and what I want to see happen the rest of the offseason. Continue reading…
How do, all! As you know, I’ve been saying that the CBJ should focus on their defensive prospect depth in this year’s draft despite the fact that, from what I’ve gathered, the best player available in the first round will more than likely be a forward. As I pointed out in my preview, the CBJ have used 16 of their last 19 picks on forwards or goalies including six of last year’s seven picks (all six being forwards) with four of those picks being among the teams top prospects. But more importantly, I say this because of the organization’s overall lack of depth at the position.
The Falcons faced off against the Providence Bruins in the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs. Unforunately, the Bruins earned the 3-2 series win. Let’s take a look back at the one playoff series the baby Jackets played in this season.
Starting off in game one, with the Falcons trailing 1-0 in the second Michael Chaput, Marko Dano and JF Jacques had a three on two with Dano sending a cross rink pass to Jacques (even tho it looked like he didn’t put much on it) to get a shot past Svedberg to make it 1-1. Later in the second period, Ryan Craig tipped in a Patrick McNeill shot to make it 2-1. The Bruins tied the game just before the midway point of the third and thus sent the game to overtime. Andrew Joudrey started and finished the rush when he passed the puck and then received it back to snap a shot just above the circle to win the game. Mike McKenna made 35 saves in the win.
The Falcons closed the regular season with two road games – both of which they lost. Fortunately, the team already clinched the Northeast Division so I’m guessing this weekend was “don’t get hurt and let’s try and figure out the roster”.
Starting on Friday, the Falcons fell to Hartford by a score of 2-1 with ex Jacket David LeNeveu picking up the win. In the loss, Carter Camper scored the Falcons goal and Mike McKenna made 18 saves. In the season finale against Albany, it was ugly with a capital ugh as the Devils rolled out to a 4-0 lead including a goal seven seconds into the game. The scoring barrage ended Mike McKenna’s night early in the second when he turned things over to Anton Forsberg. The Falcons finally scored in the third period when Tim Erixon fired a shot from the point that bounced off the backwall right to Jake Hansen who scored. Less than three minutes later the Falcons scored again when Marko Dano skated in and fired a backhand that the Devils goalie would stop but the rebound going right to Darryl Boyce in the slot to make it 4-2. The Devils added an empty net to make it 5-2, Mike McKenna stopped nine of 13 and took the loss while Anton Forsberg stopped all 10 shots he faced.
Greetings all! Back again with the week in review for the Blue Jackets prospects, ok two weeks but the CBJ were so busy last week and it would have been a light update from me so my superiors said I could take some time off.
Starting off in Springfield, two weeks ago the AHL decided to make it “lets screw with the Falcons normal routine” week as the team opened with an 11AM game followed by a trip into THE FUTURE… or St John’s Newfoundland where it’s an hour and a half ahead of Eastern Standard Time. We begin in Bridgeport, CT for a game against the Sound Tigers. Anton Forsberg made his North American debut in net. In the first, the Tigers’ goalie tried to play the puck but he fired it right into Dana Tyrell who found Jake Hansen who beat Poulin back to the crease to make it 1-0. Three minutes later, Marko Dano struck for his first North American goal when he took a pass from Cody Goloubef and snapped off a shot to give the Falcons a 2-0 lead. Late in the third, the Sound Tigers spoiled Anton’s shutout bid before Cody Bass scored an empty netter. In the 3-1 win Anton Forsberg made 25 saves and was named second star with Dano being named first star.
Greetings all – This post covers the past TWO weeks for our prospects. I’m sorry for the delay – it just means there’s a lot to cover, so let’s get rolling.
Starting off in Springfi…wait no we don’t, we’re going for a change in venue as we start in St John’s Newfoundland at Mile One Centre. We head there for the AHL All Star Game. Unlike normal years, where it’s either the standard East-West or the older Canada-PlanetUSA format, this year the All Star Game was a team of AHL All Stars versus Farjestads of the Swedish Hockey League. Jackets Dmen Frederic St. Denis and Cody Goloubef represented the Falcons in the game with St. Denis serving as an alternate captain.
Starting on Tuesday with the Skills Competition, Cody and Frederic took part in the first event – the puck control relay – with both skating second of their trios. Brett Connolly gave the AHL a slight lead that Frederic then lost with Cody also finishing behind the Swedish skater. St. Denis’ group would lose but local boy Brenden Kichton, with the help of the Farjestads player falling, led to the AHL winning Cody’s heat. Cody and Frederic got the next four events off before taking part in the “Pass and Score” teaming up with Cam Atkinson’s college linemate, and current Albany forward, Joe Whitney. The group faced off against goaltender Frederik Pettersson-Wentzel. In the event all three players have to touch the puck before shooting within 30 seconds. Cody scored on the first attempt with a snapshot from the slot and St. Denis scored on the third when Wentzel went for the double pad stack but he didn’t leave them on the ice allowing the puck to trickle past. In the final event, “the breakaway relay,” every player took part in a group of five. Cody was part of the second AHL group, shooting fourth. He fired a shot into Pekka Tuokkola’s glove. St. Denis was part of the third AHL group, shooting third on Frederik Pettersson-Wentzel. He tried some fancy stickhandling but was stopped. The score was tied after all four groups so the competition went to a sudden death shootout with IceCaps captain Jason Jaffrey clinching the victory in the third round thus giving the AHL a 17-18 victory in the Skills Competition.
The Olympic break is just that. A nice little break to take stock of the season so far. Looking back so far over the season, there are really two Blue Jackets squads. There is the injury riddled, under-performing bunch from the start of the year. Then there is the top ten team from the last couple months. Is any of this really that surprising though? We knew Nathan Horton would be out to start the year. We knew Sergei Bobrovsky would regress. We knew this was one of the youngest rosters in the league, one that had barely played together over the last couple of years. That has all the makings of a slow start.
However, the first few months of the year probably went worse than would be expected. Just check out the Jackets’ goal differential from the first few months (where they played like a borderline playoff team, with only a -2 goal differential through December 22nd), to now, where they have played like a legit playoff team (currently +9, good for 10th in the NHL). So injuries plus weak goaltending provides results worse than should be expected. That’s all the makings for a turnaround. Aka the last two months are not a fluke.
So where do we go from here? I’ve got two views of it. The first, to follow in this post, is the small picture. It’s the trade deadline and this current offseason. You can’t fully discuss one without talking about the other. Player re-signings, rentals, prospects, draft picks; they are all just so intertwined, it makes sense to discuss both. The other view is the big picture, coming later this week. It’s based around a not-so-simple question: who do the Blue Jackets want to be?
With that being said, let’s look back to the current roster. Per CapGeek , the Jackets are currently sitting on around $2.5m in cap space, although they will have about $4m by the deadline. That means they can add up to that much in salary without sending any out. Basically, unless the Jackets are targeting one of a handful of premium rentals, they don’t need to move out anyone of significance. This picture gets even rosier this offseason. The team will have about $22m in cap space for next year, with ten forwards, four defensemen, one goalie signed. That is a lot of room to work with, and considering the young age of the roster, GM Jarmo Kekelainen and President John Davidson can take this team in just about any direction they want. I’m not Jarmo or JD, but here is the direction I would like to see them take, broken down by player status.
We’re back with another week of Prospect updates!
Starting off in Springfield, the team went 1-2-0-1 last week starting off on Monday in a MLK Day matinee with Adirondack. The Falcons opened the scoring seven minutes into the second when Jean-Francois Jacques received a pass from Spencer Machacek to make it 1-0. Four minutes later, Jacques worked a two on one with Lukas Sedlak with Lukas finishing it for his sixth of the season. Six minutes later, Cody Goloubef stole the puck and was off to the races on a breakaway converting for his sixth. A minute later Michael Chaput took a pass from Goloubef. Chaput was able to get behind the Phantoms defense to make it 4-0 Falcons. The Phantoms scored midway through the third but couldn’t beat the baby birds. Mike McKenna made 30 saves in the victory.
Next up was a trip to Hartford with the Falcons falling to the Pack for the first time in seven tries this season. Michael Chaput and Tim Erixon scored in the 5-2 loss – a game that included allowing a goal seven seconds into the game. Jeremy Smith only made it 23:34 into the game – he allowed four goals and stopped only 11 of 15. Mike McKenna stopped 21 in relief but the team would allow an empty net goal.
Back again with the week in review starting off in Springfield like we always do! The Falcons got back on track going 2-0 the same week that the team celebrated its 20th anniversary. First off was a trip to Portland (Lewiston) for a game against the Pirates. In the 4-3 shootout win the Falcons took an early lead when Cody Bass deflected a Blake Parlett point shot for his second of the season. After a Pirates goal, Spencer Machacek got his seventh goal from Michael Chaput and Dalton Smith. The Birds would allow two more goals before Cody Goloubef was able to tie it up. The game went to a shootout with Goloubef winning it in the fifth round. Mike McKenna made 31 saves in the victory, stopping four of five in the shootout.
Up next was a game against Providence. Andrew Joudrey opened the scoring when he tapped in the rebound of a Tim Erixon point shot. The Falcons allowed three straight goals before they scored early in the third. Spencer Machacek got on the scoreboard 36 seconds into the period when he crashed the net to make it 3-2. 12 minutes later Ryan Craig tipped in a Jonathan Marchessault shot to tie it at three. 30 seconds later, Tim Erixon gathered a loose puck and found Sean Collins who deflected the puck past the Bruins goalie. Andrew Joudrey finished the game with an empty net goal launching the puck from before his own blueline to ice the 5-3 win. Jeremy Smith made 22 saves in the victory including this highlight glove save.
Oscar Dansk-Erie Otters (OHL)
Season Stats 26GP 20-4-1 1.97GAA .927Sv % 6SO
First some awards. With his 3-0 record last week that included two shutouts Oscar was named CHL VAUGHN Goaltender of the week for the second time this season. As for his week in Erie it started off with a game against Kingston. Oscar had his shutout streak snapped at the 13:35 of the first period ending his streak at 157:53 which is the third longest in franchise history. In the 6-3 victory Oscar had 26 saves for his 20th win of the season. To close out the week the Guelph Storm came to town in a matchup of the Midwest Division’s top two teams. In the 1-0 loss Oscar would make 18 saves.
Hilsner og glade feriedage blå jakke blæsere (“Greetings and Happy Holidays Blue Jackets fans” in Danish…I hope) I’m back again with a week in review that is heavy on the international flavor.
Starting off in Springfield as we usually do, the Falcons finished up their six game road trip and finished off the first half of the season. The Falcons went 2-0 last week which gives them a seven game point streak. Starting off on Friday in Providence, the Falcons picked up a shootout win over the Baby Bruins. All the offense for this game would happen in the second. After the Bruins took a 2-0 lead, Andrew Joudrey scored his 4th of the season to make it 2-1. Frederic St. Denis then tied the game with his sixth of the season with just over a minute remaining in the period. The resulting shootout took seven rounds – Sean Collins scored in the third round and Joudrey notched the final goal to clinch the win. Jeremy Smith made 20 saves for his 12th win of the season.
Friday night it was off to Hartford for a game against the reborn Wolfpack. Jonathan Marchessault continued his hot streak of late when he scored his eighth of the season and his fourth in his last six games. Akim Aliu scored midway through the second to tie it up. Like Friday, the game went to a shootout with Andrew Joudrey and Jonathan Marchessault scoring in rounds one and three to clinch it. Jeremy Smith had 27 saves along with four more in the shootout.
Entering the Christmas break the Falcons own the best record in the AHL going 20-4-1-2. The Falcons are using a scoring by committee approach with 13 players already having over 10 points including five defenseman including Tim Erixon.